Housing Policy

Housing Prices Falling Everywhere Except for Washington, D.C.


Just 1.5 miles from Reason HQ!

Click on this Wall Street Journal chart showing the Case-Shiller index of housing values in the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. When you sort by "Annual Change," the cities ranked 2 through 20 are all showing price contraction, from Detroit (-0.9%) to Minneapolis (-10.0%). But here in the nation's capital, which is busy hiring people to figure out how to fix the economy, growth is at a robust +4.3%. There's probably a lesson in there somewhere.

Link via the Twitter feed of David Frum.

NEXT: Obama's Imperial Presidency

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  1. Of course there’s a lesson in there. Unfortunately it’s just the obvious one, which sophisticated people in D.C. are confident just ain’t so.

    1. Life imitates art.

      1. Not a big fan of dilbert. Bleh…

      2. Not a big fan of dilbert. Bleh…

      3. Never been a big fan of Dilbert. Meh…

  2. stop whining, buy her the house in DC. GTFOI, It’s your job as a man

  3. Housing Prices Falling Everywhere Except for Washington, D.C.

    And Seattle.

    1. Seattle was monthly, not annual, and just a weeeeee little bit.

      1. I wasn’t nitpicking, it’s just that’s the way the headline was presented on NPR.

        And yeah, I noticed the .1%. That’s practically a statistical anomaly.

        Doesn’t matter though, King County has essentially unzipped their fly and admitted that your property taxes will go up no matter what your home price is.

        1. I heard a Chase ad on the radio this morning (Seattle area) about how you can borrow on your home equity.

          Maybe people are borrowing to pay their property taxes.

  4. See? Pauly Krugnuts is right! There is literally no problem that can’t be fixed with government spending.

    1. Multiplier!

  5. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that, of the decliners, Detroit had the least decline at 0.9%.

    There is a limit to how far down you can go.

    1. that’s true of most of Pittsburgh too, at least the bombeb-out towns flanking the city. Negative real estate prices look like reality when you factor in property tax. Even a worthless house could cost $2000/year in taxes.

      1. As stated above, property taxes aren’t about home value. I’m guessing nearly every county in every state works similarly to King County. I could be wrong.

        1. My impression is that Texas is generally fairly accurate, at least Harris County.

  6. It’s poor black people’s fault.

  7. Does the house in the picture come with an underground cave full of crime-fighting equipment?

    1. No, it is built on an ancient graveyard filled with angry spirits.

  8. Good. Houses are still too expensive. Housing prices in most markets shouldn’t return to 2008 levels any time soon. Of all of the recent bailouts, residential real estate might be the worst. Not only does it reward people’s stupid decisions, it keeps prices propped up artificially so that sensible, responsible people still can’t afford to buy in a sensible and responsible way.

  9. And if the Kochelaphalopod teabaggers get their way and slash the federal govt, housing everywhere will be falling. Way to help the economy, guys!

    1. I can’t get the html strike-through thing to work, but I’ll fix this statement for you anyway.

      “And if the Kochelaphalopod teabaggers get their way and slash the federal govt, housing everywhere will drop into the affordable range for responsible people with lower incomes, and they won’t have to get in debt up to their eyebrows to do it!”

      There, FIFY. Why do you hate the young and the poor so much that you want them to 1) remain frozen out of housing, or 2) to have to borrower way more than they can afford to get the house?

      1. have to borrower way more than they can afford to get the house?

        But when the cost of housing goes up, then they can afford to keep the house because it will be worth more…..

    2. I don’t mind teabagging; I actually quite enjoy dipping my balls in a willing party’s mouth.

      On a more serious note, could you please articulate how it is that you believe government spending can indefinitely sustain unsustainable property prices that they helped create without inflation? Can you also please show me where in the constitution the federal government has the authority to remove money from my pocket to help some “less fortunate” soul purchase a house for their sole use? By that logic, shouldn’t I in turn be allowed to buy a Porsche with your money?

    3. Remind me again why the federal government should have any interest in house prices? If there are houses on the market that are not selling, the prices are too high. Attempts to prop up prices can only prolong the pain. And don’t forget that falling real estate prices help as many people as they hurt.
      Of all of the liberal trolls around here, Hobie has got to be the biggest piece of shit going. I bet he works for the Kochs and is on a mission to make liberals look even dumber and more disconnected from reality that they actually are.

  10. The Cato Institute looked at this in 2005, when they published “What Are Private Governments Worth?” (200 KB PDF).

    we collected sales data from five zip codes in the Washington, D.C., suburban area of Prince William County, Va., from the years 2000?2004. The zip codes we examined were 22192, 20155, 22026, 20112, and 20181, representing the Lake Ridge, Gainesville, Dumfries/Montclair, Manassas, and Nokesville areas, respectively.

    and concluded that the increase in home values was due to the presence of HOAs, not their proximity to the nation’s capital.

    1. The housing market’s dynamic has changed a bit since 2005.

      1. Yes it has, which demonstrates the predictive power of libertarian economic theories.

        1. Are economic theories supposed to predict election results now?

          1. Are you saying that the collapse of the housing market would not have happened if the Republicans won the 2006 and/or the 2008 elections?

      2. So HOAs preserve property values only when housing prices are increasing?

    2. Those are the communities in the greater DC area that have lost a substantial percentage of their value over the last five years.

      Those are really exurban communities, more than suburbs. What’s happened in this area is that people who were being driven that far out from DC in search of affordable homes are now buying closer in to DC. This has had the effect of lowering values in those exurbs and propping up values inside the Beltway.

      The one exception to this trend has been out west towards Dulles Airport, where all of the high-tech defense and security contractors are located, which has resulted in a very affluent, self-contained area around there.

  11. Damn, I wish my albatross condo in Alexandria were part of that +4.3%.

    1. Condos were ridiculously overbuilt around here. SFHs have done a lot better in Arlington and Alexandria.

  12. No big shocker here, considering the D.C. Metro area now has half of the top 20 richest counties in America. It doesn’t take a real genius to figure out who’s slowly stealing all of the nation’s wealth.

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